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Meet the laymen-turned-lawyers in city courts

Fed up of paying high fees to lawyers, computer professionals and civil engineers are pleading their own cases and winning them too

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The court is no more the territory of lawyers alone. A growing trend witnessed in courts these days is laymen fighting their own cases.

Citizens are pleading cases like domestic violence and property disputes where they are arguing their cases with professional lawyers.

An IT professional, Sumit Chourasia (36), who hails from Uttar Pradesh and is currently working in Hinjewadi, is pleading his own case which was filed against him by his wife.  “For the past five years, I am in dispute with my wife. Initially, I had hired a lawyer who charged me Rs50,000 in advance. I thought, paying him the amount in one stroke will be convenient as I would not have to pay him again. But on every alternate hearing in court he demanded money. I felt this was more harassing than the case itself. It was then I started reading law books and developed interest. I enrolled myself for a law course and fought my own case,” he said.

He added, “I not only fought my own case, but also won it. I am no more charged with criminal cases lodged against me and my family. Learning from my experiences and the pain I went through, I help my office colleagues and friends who are facing domestic disputes.”

Mohammad Gyasuddin Siddiqui, a Bhosari resident and a civil engineer by profession, is pleading his own case of a property dispute which is on for eight years.

“The lawyer hired by my parents often had no reply on the progress of the case. I myself started reading law books and gained some knowledge about law,” he said.

He added, “I found that my lawyer was not attending the dates and one of the orders was passed against us. I started keeping track of him and would be present in the court. It was then that I realised that it is easy to plead the case if one has knowledge about it. Now I am pleading my own case.”

Another civil engineer, Shailendra Raste, a resident of Sadashiv Peth, mostly files cases related to deficiency in service against government organisations in the consumer forum.

Raste said, “I had gone to the consumer forum to file a case against Pune Municipal Corporation. Most lawyers turned me down and others demanded huge amounts. I read about consumer rights which helped me understand the structure and now I am pleading my own cases.”

 

Pleading a case

There are no provisions in the law by which engagement of an advocate is compulsory. A person may file or defend any case personally without engaging an advocate. You may plead the case of your relative in the court after securing power of attorney from your relative subject to permission of the council under the provision of Advocate Act.

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